Christine's journals and diaries from her childhood should have been an indication she'd become a blogger, filled with fleeting observations and commentary on everyday life in a suburb of Chicago.
As a 7th grader at Eisenhower Junior High School in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, Christine's Language Arts teacher, Carolyn Leece, encouraged her to join the Creative Writing Club. At Hoffman Estates High School, Christine's favorite classes were always in the Language Arts wing. She likes to think she acquired her ability to fire off quick (and occasionally humorous) examinations of her classmates in Frank Hill's sophomore English class, in which the first five minutes were always devoted to hyper-journaling. Many of her classmates were subjected to her surveillance and reporting. Christine loved the reactions she got when the journals were shared out loud, particularly when the class erupted in laughter over something she'd written.
At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Christine enrolled in the College of Communications her junior year. She graduated in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising and a minor in English. Her senior year, Christine and her future husband, an economics major, each took a course in the other's major -- a freakish sign of courtship in the late 1980s. Christine barely made it through Finance 254, somehow missing the memo about a prerequisite of Accounting 101; Michael breezed through Advertising 101 and thoroughly enjoyed memorizing the names of all the "critters" created by the Leo Burnett Company.
Leo Burnett hired Christine, however, and she worked there for three years in the Media and Client Service Departments. She proved she had some guts when she declined a position on the Marlboro cigarette account. Her clients included Procter & Gamble and Kellogg brands, most notably Froot Loops and Rice Krispies. In an ongoing homage to Snap Crackle and Pop, Christine designs cakes made of Rice Krispie Treats for her children and friends -- including a wedding cake.
She switched agencies and worked for two years at DDB Needham on General Mills products, but found client service -- most particularly the financial management -- challenging.
She briefly worked for the Karen Kovach Company in Chicago as an advertising sales representative, and helped coordinate the Chicago premiere of Pixar's (original) Toy Story movie. Still, Christine was looking for more reward and creativity, and less "desk" work.
She joined the recruiting department of Deloitte & Touch Consulting and traveled around the country coordinating MBA interviews at business schools including Harvard, Duke, UNC, Stanford, Columbia, Wharton and the University of Chicago. During this time, she also decided to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching in early childhood education from National-Louis University.
Christine's degree took seven years to complete, as the process was interrupted by a move from Chicago to Evanston AND the arrival of three children in five years. She found the education fascinating and informative while raising her children (now 14, 12 and 9), and applied her newly gained knowledge to teaching preschoolers in Evanston. That job was one of the most rewarding of her life; to this day, she loves running into her former students and their parents. They may not remember her, but she always remembers them.
After teaching for almost eight years, Christine approached the age of forty and declared she'd like to dedicate a year to writing. She didn't know what genre. She didn't know anything, really. She just knew her youngest child was heading to full-day kindergarten and it was now or never to try her hand at her lifelong connection with the written word. Luckily, her husband knew how passionate she'd always been about writing, and supported her decision.
She considered memoir but decided on writing for children -- mistakenly thinking it might be a good place to start as a "beginning writer". She read a middle-grade chapter book by Deerfield, Illinois author Brenda Ferber titled Julia's Kitchen and found herself crying in the Evanston Public Library before she'd even checked out the book. She knew right then that writing for 8 to 13-year-olds was what she wanted to do. Little did she know the world of children's writing is filled with rules and guidelines. She joined The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and two critique groups -- one of which was facilitated by Brenda Ferber -- hoping to absorb the fundamentals of children's writing. She's currently finished with the first draft of her first novel, and next up, she plans to write a book with her favorite writer: her daughter.
Encouraged by her writing mentors, Christine reluctantly joined Facebook and started a blog about writing, sailing observing the crazy things in her life (www.christinewolf.wordpress.com). She often wondered how these distractions from her "real" writing would help her grow as a published author.
Then, one day, Jessica Rudis, Evanston Patch's editor, contacted Christine after Robert K. Elder, Regional Editor for Patch, recommended Christine for the About Town column. Apparently, Mr. Elder had found Christine through Facebook and her blog. She's been writing for the Evanston Patch since September 2010.
Christine's blog on ChicagoNow (owned by Tribune Media Group) is called Riding The Waves (www.chicagonow.com/riding-the-waves), and she's a Featured Contributor on www.30SecondMom.com, providing tips and support for mobile moms.